By Jonathan Caudle, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tech volleyball took a setback on Saturday as the Golden Eagles dropped a four-set match against the Murray State Racers, 3-1 (21-25, 25-22, 20-25, 21-25), at the Hooper Eblen Center.
"Murray State is a really good team. We had a really poor showing against them last year, and so we definitely had something to prove with them coming to Cookeville this year," expressed head coach Jeannette Waldo. "They have a lot of offensive weapons that we just didn't have a lot of answers for. We didn't have a great blocking presence like we did last night, and we didn't have offense to back it up. I think we battled as hard as we could with the pieces that were working tonight. We have a lot of things to clean up going into Wednesday's matchup."
The Golden Eagles (10-13, 6-4 OVC) led Murray State (13-9, 7-3 OVC) in blocks with 13, while the Racers grabbed seven, and services aces, with four to Murray's three.
Junior Ali Verzani picked up a team-high 15 kills, while Taylor Dorsey also tallied double-digit kills on the night with 11. Sophomore Ashley Hand dished out 41 assists for the Golden Eagles. Senior Rachel Thomas earned a match-high five blocks, while freshman Carly Skrabak anchored Tech's back row with a match-high 22 digs in the loss.
Tech opened the contest with a pair of kills from Thomas and Dorsey, in addition to a Racer error, to take a 3-0 lead. The Golden Eagles battled with the Racers, but Murray State scored four-straight following an 8-5 Tech lead, before the Golden Eagles evened things at nine. The Golden Eagles outscored the Racers 11-9 to take a two-point advantage at 20-18 and sparking a Murray State timeout. The Racers came out of the timeout on a 7-1 run to take the early 1-0 match lead, 25-21.
The second set started much like the first as the Golden Eagles capitalized on a pair of Murray State errors and a service ace to take a 3-0 lead. The Racers would respond to even the set at seven. Things remained even through a 12-12 tie before the Racers would tally three-straight kills to take a 15-12 lead. The Golden Eagles would rally to outscore the Racers 13-8 to retake the lead and even the set, 25-22.
Tech took another lead, 5-2, to open the third following three kills, a service ace, and a Racer error. Murray State would eventually bring things back even at 10 and 11. Murray outscored the Golden Eagles 7-3 to take a four-point advantage, 18-14. The Golden Eagles attempted to rally, but the Racers would hold on 7-6 through the end of the set to take the 2-1 match lead, 25-20.
The fourth set was a battle as the Golden Eagles would even things at five, before continuing the run to take an 8-6 lead. Murray State and Tech would trade runs as the Racers led 9-8, before the Golden Eagles took a 13-10 advantage, until the Racers would retake the lead 15-14 and the Golden Eagles would bring things to a 15-15 tie. Tech held on to the lead 18-17, but the Racers would outscore the Golden Eagles 8-3 to eventually take the fourth set and close out the four-set affair, 25-21.
The Golden Eagles close out their homestand with a midweek matchup against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks on Wednesday, October 30. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Photo by Thomas Corhern